Richard Andrew Poplawski was a young man convinced the nation was secretly controlled by a cabal that would eradicate freedom of speech, take away his guns and use the military to enslave the citizenry.
His online profile suggests someone at once lonely and seething. He wrote of burning the backs of both of his hands, the first time with a cigarette, the second time for symmetry. He subscribed to conspiracy theories and, by January 2007, was posting photographs of his tattoos on white supremacist Web site Stormfront. Among his ambitions: "to accumulate enough 'I punched that [expletive] so hard' stories to match my old man."
"Crazy to me is going through the motions," he wrote on his MySpace profile three years ago. "Crazy to me is letting each day slip past you. Crazy is being insignificant. Crazy is being obscure, pointless."
No longer obscure, the 22-year-old is charged in the worst police shooting in the modern history of Pittsburgh. No one is calling his actions anything but pointless.
"He was really into politics and really into the First and Second amendment. One thing he feared was he feared the gun ban because he thought that was going to take away peoples' right to defend themselves. He never spoke of going out to murder or to kill," said Edward Perkovic, who described himself as Mr. Poplawski's lifelong best friend.
Mr. Poplawski's view of guns and personal freedom took a turn toward the fringes of American politics. With Mr. Perkovic, he appeared to share a belief that the government was controlled from unseen forces, that troops were being shipped home from the Mideast to police the citizenry here, and that Jews secretly ran the country.
"We recently discovered that 30 states had declared sovereignty," said Mr. Perkovic, who lives in Lawrenceville. "One of his concerns was why were these major events in America not being reported to the public."
Believing most media were covering up important events, Mr. Poplawski turned to a far-right conspiracy Web site run by Alex Jones, a self-described documentarian with roots going back to the extremist militia movement of the early 1990s.
Around the same time, he joined Florida-based Stormfront, which has long been a clearinghouse Web site for far-right groups. He posted photographs of his tattoo, an eagle spread across his chest.
"I was considering gettin' life runes on the outside of my calfs," he wrote. Life runes are a common symbol among white supremacists, notably followers of The National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group linked to an array of violent organizations.
"For some time now there has been a pretty good connection between being sucked into this conspiracy world and propagating violence," said Heidi Beirich, director of research at the Southern Poverty Law Center and an expert on political extremists. She called Mr. Poplawski's act, "a classic example of what happens when you start buying all this conspiracy stuff."
Mr. Perkovic said Mr. Poplawski's parents had split when he was young.
"His dad's totally out of the picture," said Mr. Perkovic.
According to his MySpace profile online, Mr. Poplawski lived in Stanton Heights, was an avid Penguins fan, considered Mario Lemieux his hero, and held his grandmother, Catherine Poplawski, whom he called "Cukie," in warm esteem.
Mr. Perkovic said his friend essentially dropped out of North Catholic High School. Officials there would only say he was asked to leave.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- a day before Mr. Poplawski's birthday -- he decided to join the military, stopped going to classes and pursued a general educational development certificate.
"In boot camp he had missed his girlfriend so he had to make a decision ... he got himself dishonorably discharged so he could come back," Mr. Perkovic said.
According to Mr. Perkovic, Mr. Poplawski tossed a lunch tray at a drill instructor.
The relationship with his girlfriend, Melissa Gladish, went sour after Mr. Poplawski returned to Pittsburgh.
Court records show that on Sept. 14, 2005, Mr. Poplawski attacked Miss Gladish outside 1016 Fairfield St., the same address at which he would later be accused of killing the three police officers.
Miss Gladish said she had gone to Mr. Poplawski's house "and he began to argue with me and call me names. When I argued back he grabbed me by my hair and said, 'Do you think I'm going to let you talk to me like that? I don't let anyone talk to me like that."'
He threatened to kill her, the records show. In a form asking Miss Gladish to list all weapons Mr. Poplawski had used, she listed "gun that the defendant says is buried in the park near his house."
Less than a month later, police sought Mr. Poplawski for violating a protection-from-abuse order after he went to Miss Gladish's workplace, a King's Restaurant, and asked her to marry him. He then moved to the West Palm Beach, Fla., area. Mr. Perkovic said he worked there as a glazier for two years.
Two years later, back in Pittsburgh, Mr. Poplawski wrote on MySpace of the episode: "She's lucky I didn't kill that broad myself. Hahaha."
[Mail and Globe] A Peruvian farmer underwent an operation after complaining of severe pain from an eight-day erection, a doctor at a hospital in the northern city of Sullana said on Thursday. "The patient arrived at the hospital in great pain because of the erection," said surgeon Nelson Carrasco, adding that the 53-year-old had not taken a sexual stimulant or alcohol.
He said the patient, whose identity was withheld, suffers from priapism, a persistent erection of the penis often due to a blood clot in the erectile tissue. Carrasco said the man underwent surgery at the Sullana hopsital, about 1 000km north of Lima. But he added, "We are looking for the cause of the priapism because if we don't find a solution it could reappear again."
[from the NWeatherService]
The Flood Warning continues for
the Red River at Fargo.
* Until further notice... or until the warning is cancelled.
* At 8:15 PM Saturday the stage was 34.6 feet. [The peak stage was about 41']
* Major flooding is occurring and major flooding is forecast.
* Flood stage is 18.0 feet.
* Forecast... the river will continue to slowly fall the next
[and the 5-day forecast is for dry weather with high temps above freezing and low temps below freezing which is perfect for moderate melting]
An Egyptian man and his wife convicted of setting up a swinger's club and organizing orgies and wife swaps were sentenced to a total of ten years in prison , local press reported Sunday.
Tolba Abdel Hafez, a 48-year-old civil servant, and his wife Salwa Higazi, a 37-year-old schoolteacher, were sentenced to seven years and three years respectively by the Agouza Criminal Court Saturday, the state-owned al-Gomhuria reported. The couple will be on probation after their release for the same time period. In sentencing the pair, the judge described the case as "one of the worst crimes committed in the name of humanity," adding that the crime was unique for its perversity and went beyond the taboos of extra-marital sex.
The Cairo couple, who have children, were arrested in October 2008 on prostitution charges and confessed to having sexual relations with three other couples. The couple used the pseudonyms Magdy and Samira on a website and in emails to organize wife-swapping parties and orgies and managed to get 44 couples signed up for Cairo swinging sessions via the website. Hafez had said he got the idea from a porn movie, and that his wife agreed.
Rights groups have criticized a 1961 law that can be used to prosecute suspects because it defines certain sexual acts as prostitution even if no money changes hands.
abt 10 yrs ago we busted a secret swinging ring on Lejeune in enlisted housing - abt 6 couples involved. One fetish I will never understand. Might as well stay single. At least in the case of the enlisted ring the couples were between 19 & 24 yrs old - I could kind of see the youth equation in there but to be in your 40s & want to share the mother of your children w/some other dudes - just doesn't compute.
[Iran Press TV Latest] Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has flown back to despair after his grandson followed the fate of his recently deceased wife. According to an official from Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party, Tsvangirai's infant grandson died in a drowning 'accident' Saturday at the family's Harare home, which has a swimming pool.
The official, who refused to be named, said the boy, whom he referred to as Sean, died while Tsvangirai was away at a political retreat in Victoria Falls.
Tsvangirai was due to cut short his stay in Victoria Falls, where he and other government members, including President Robert Mugabe, had been meeting since Friday to plan a political program for the next 100 days.
The incident comes just weeks after Tsvangirai lost his wife, Susan, in a car collision in which he was also slightly injured. The car crash was also described as 'accident'. The 57-year-old prime minister had just returned to work on Wednesday after a period of grieving his wife.
[Mail and Globe] The global diamond certification body on Friday ordered a ban on trade in diamonds from eastern Zimbabwe over concerns about human rights violations.
President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), Avi Paz said the decision to ban the Zimbabwe diamonds follows reports of violations of the Kimberley Process -- a system meant to prevent trade in conflict diamonds. The ban affects only the Marange deposits in eastern Zimbabwe, where local media have reported of forced evictions of small-scale miners.
"The WFDB and its membership worldwide are committed to do all it can to prevent conflict diamonds from Zimbabwe or from any other source for that matter to be traded by our members," Paz said in a statement.
The group only allows its member bourses to trade in diamonds that are accompanied by a Kimberley Process certificate, meant to guarantee that the gems are not fuelling conflicts. "Any bourse member who trades in rough diamonds without KP certification is liable for expulsion from his bourse, which in all practical terms means the exclusion from the entire diamond business community," Paz said.
Government officials made no immediate reaction as they are attending a weekend retreat in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
Last year Zimbabwean authorities sealed off an eastern mining area, where the state-run Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation is now extracting up to 60 000 carats per week, according to official figures.
[Bangla Daily Star] Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina will no more be the organisational chief of her party's student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), which recently got involved in internal clashes at several educational institutions.
The AL Presidium took this decision at an emergency meeting at Hasina's political office in Dhanmondi yesterday evening. From the meeting, Hasina directed law enforcement agencies to take stern action against those involved in criminal activities, extortion and tender manipulation, no matter what organisation they belong to, AL spokesperson Syed Ashraful Islam told newsmen after the two-hour meeting.
Ashraf, also LGRD and cooperatives minister, said, "She [Hasina] will no more be the organisational chief of Chhatra League as the (party) presidium has decided so."
Hasina and other leaders of her party are annoyed and worried about the recent violence and criminal activities at different educational institutions, meeting sources said.
The AL spokesperson announced that a countrywide crackdown on violence by students or in the name of students started yesterday. "She [Hasina] proposed that she would no longer remain organisational chief of BCL, and the presidium meeting accepted it. Even, she doesn't want to see her portrait hung in BCL's offices,"Ashraful said.
The government has directed law enforcement agencies to take stern action against student leaders or activists perpetrating violence, extortion and tender manipulation , or anyone doing these in the guise of students," he told reporters. "The action starts right now...None would be spared if found involved in criminal activities," he added.
Meeting sources said several presidium members even suggested abolition of the BCL. But the AL leadership did not accept their suggestion. "Chhatra League is plagued with organisational problems due to inefficiency its central committee leaders," Ashraf said.
BCL factions recently engaged in clashes at Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka Medical College, Dhaka University and Jagannath University mainly over establishing supremacy on the campus. These incidents have led to the closure of several institutions, causing embarrassment to the government. A Dhaka Medical College student was killed in such an internal brawl of the AL's student body.
[Bangla Daily Star] Two groups of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists yesterday locked in a clash at Jagannath University (JNU) over establishing supremacy on the campus, leaving at least 15 injured. The latest infighting came a day after violent clashes between two BCL factions on Jahangirnagar University campus and in the wake of clashes among rival groups in a number of educational institutions.
Sources said the clash erupted between the supporters of BCL JNU unit president Kamrul Hasan Ripon and general secretary Kazi Abu Sayeed at about 12:00 noon and continued for over an hour.
Both the groups used bamboo and hockey sticks and attacked others, injuring at least 15 BCL men. Ten injured students, including Mizan, Rashed, Shaon, Selim, Salahuddin and Mejbah, were taken to Sumona clinic in Patuatuli for treatment.
A tense situation prevailed on the campus following the clash.
Campus sources said BCL groups belonging to the president and the general secretary of JNU unit fought each other on more than eight occasions since December 29 parliamentary elections. Around 100 students were injured in those turf wars centring extortion money.
The BCL leaders, however, claimed that there is no existence of different groups in JNU BCL unit. An evil force has been trying to destabilise campus situation and newcomers to BCL are mainly responsible for the clashes, said Ripon.
Officer-in-Charge of Kotwali police station Md Salahuddin said additional police forces were deployed on the campus to avert any further trouble.
Meanwhile, a case was filed with Savar police station against 20 BCL activists in connection with the Friday's clash on Jahangirnagar University (JU) campus. Five arrested students were produced before the court yesterday in this connection, police said. Tanmay, an injured activist of Pritom-Sabbir group of the BCL JU unit, filed the case against the activists of Palash-Rigan-Zihan group.
The first batch of female pilots to fly Chinese fighter jets will make their debut - and history - at the National Day parade on October 1, it was announced yesterday.
All 16 women, who range from 21 to 24 years old, graduated with distinction in five final assessments after 44 months of training at the Third Flying College, the First Flying College and the Aviation University of People's Liberation Army Air Force, reported Xinhua News Agency. With pics! Click the link and then page through the article, lots of pics.
And their reward will be becoming the first female pilots involved in the National Day celebrations, which this year will mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China. Deng Changyou, political commissar for the air force who attended the pilots' graduation ceremony, said China had finally fulfilled a dream, while an official who refused to be named told Xinhua: "Due to the improvements in flying ability, the accumulation of training experience and modern military needs, we've started to train women combat pilots and the air force plans to increase their numbers to enable women to enter all areas of military service."
The 16 newly qualified pilots all underwent 28 months of basic training, which included parachute jumping and field survival training at the in Aviation University of the China Air Force, as well as 16 months of flight training. Each now has an average of 135 hours of personal flight time.
If it's good enough for the U.S., Israel, and several European countries -- although I am ashamed to say I don't know which ones -- then China is wise to follow suit. Besides, it's so much fun to taunt the idiots who think being beaten by a girl is the most shameful thing, when one has done so.
Well considering how well their male counterparts drive , this may be an improvement in overall performance. A little less testosterone territorial behavior by undisciplined 'hot shots' probably will be welcomed in Beijing.
[Jakarta Post] Police are clashing with demonstrators in Strasbourg where the NATO summit is uder way.
Several hundred protesters in eastern Strasbourg are hurling Molotov cocktails, rocks and bottles as they try to push their way into the city's center, an AP reporter on the scene says. Some 100 riot police bearing shields and wearing body armor are responding with tear gas in a bid to break u the melee with the demonstrators, many of who are clad in black and wearing masks.
Across the river in the German city of Kehl Saturday, some 2,500 protesters have gathered but police say there is no violence.
Ed, according to the story (also linked by Instapundit and others), Obama is refusing to take the money back. That way, he can dictate salaries, loan policies and other things at the bank. The takeover of the financial and auto sectors of the American economy is almost complete. I wonder where he will take over next?
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia ||
04/05/2009 20:42 Comments ||
Again, what can Obama do when the banks say here is the TARP money, we won't submit to Obama's wims? Will Obama send the treasury agents with submachine guns to seize the banks? Ain't gonna happen unless obama's aim is to spark shooting war.
It all depends on what was in the TARP legislation, plus anything the banks individually agreed to (I have no idea about either).
But wouldn't it be almost a sign of sentient life and character reappearing in the country if one of the TARP banks did exactly that - wrote a check for full pay-back, made a gigantic public spectacle of it, and refused to take no for an answer? Hell, a junior PR person could set it up so that the "administration" would be politically cornered and have to take the money.
Sorry, just dreaming of a decent, intelligent country with some common sense and standards - I thought I lived in one once, but apparently that was an illusion.
Muslim worshippers at about 200 old mosques in Mecca have been praying in the wrong direction for decades because the mosques were not built correctly, a Saudi newspaper said on Sunday.
The mosques were not built precisely based on the qibla, the official alignment with the holy Kaaba shrine at the centre of Mecca's Al-Haram mosque, according to the report in Arab News. The discrepancy was only realised after looking at the old mosques, some built more than 50 years ago, from atop the new skyscrapers being constructed in Islam's holiest city in western Saudi Arabia, the report said.
According to the pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper, Islamic affairs ministry deputy secretary, Tawfik al-Sudairy, downplayed the problem. 'There are no major errors, but corrections have been made for some old mosques, thanks to modern techniques. In any case, it does not affect the prayers,' the newspaper quoted MR Sudairy as saying in its Saturday edition.
Mecca residents and experts have suggested that the errant mosques install inside a correct indicator of the qibla, or orient their prayer rugs more exactly in the direction of the Kaaba, Arab News said. Another suggestion is that laser beams be installed in the tall minarets of the Al-Haram mosque built around the Kaaba to help mosques and worshippers establish the correct qibla direction.
I live in the midwest and work with a guy from India who's muslim. He told me they face northeast to pray. I cannot figure that out. Last time I looked at a map SA was west and a little south of here.
Posted by: Yosemite Sam ||
04/05/2009 9:30 Comments ||
they've been praying in the wrong direction ever since muman started this bullshit religion...
Posted by: European Conservative ||
04/05/2009 12:47 Comments ||
When the "Back to the 7th Century" movement took power in the Middle East around 1100 AD, they must have thrown out all the astronomy and surveying equipment, along with Algebra and other teachings that weren't in the Koran. The western Muslims kept these things in North Africa and Iberia for centuries; in fact, one of the Renaissance popes got part of his education at a Muslim university in Iberia (Granada?) because the university had preserved all sorts of useful ancient texts.
(BTW, anybody waxing poetic about the courtesy accorded Christians and Jews in Moorish Spain needs to know that, as in other places in the Islamic world, the considerations accorded the other "people of the book" were more honored in the breach than the observance).
Muslims have a problem with logic and laws of nature. In the west we believe that God set up certain laws of nature to help himself and us in understanding the universe. The muslims think that allah is all-powerful and isn't bound by even his own laws. So, the laws of nature are arbitrary and allah may decide to abandon them at any moment, why bother studying them. And, as Arthur C. Clarke said, any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic. So, the muslim universe is random and arbitrary.
Posted by: Formerly Dan ||
04/05/2009 15:00 Comments ||
Do not generalize.
It's not Islam, it's fanatic Islam.
The caliphs of Cordoba liked the good life and encourage tolerance. The arts and science florished.
Even in tougher time Muslim scientists in the Middle Ages did accomplishes admirable things, e.g. medecine, often while struggling against religious fanatism (pretty much like Christians in those times).
The issue is tolerance and openness. Christian fanatics are the same pain in the ass, and you'll even find a few Jewish fanatics with quaint ideas about women and modern technology.
Difference is they have neither power nor economic wealth (oil etc.), so they can't mess up our lives.
Posted by: European Conservative ||
04/05/2009 16:32 Comments ||
Nor do they cut off heads or shoot and stab people in the chest in the middle of the street.
Sure is a lot of fanatic Islam. Just about everywhere there's Mohammedans. Haven't read much about all those fanatic Christians and Jews lately. Must be the pro-Christian MSM sitting on the good stories. Like where they fly airplanes into buildings. Or blow themselves up. Or put bombs on retarded kids and blow them up.
Sorry, this religion, if you want to be generous, has a lot of fanatics. Enough that the other members of the religion do virtually nothing to control their fanatics. Makes me wonder how unwelcome these fanatics are to the rest.
But then I'm just generalizing, not practicing moral equivalence.
Well the Moroccan King DOES try hard and is pushing his country into the 21st century.
Posted by: European Conservative ||
04/05/2009 18:15 Comments ||
Well, that's ONE.
I'm not one to say all Muslims are bad, but I'm all for the simplicity of generalizing. Keeps me from not having to say "This isn't all Muslims, of course" every. fucking. time. I say something about a Muslim.
That, and - as a collective - Muslims are far more batshit crazy than other major religions. Though I'm not convinced that's the religions fault.
Posted by: Mike N. ||
04/05/2009 18:37 Comments ||
Difference is they have neither power nor economic wealth (oil etc.), so they can't mess up our lives.
Christians and Jews don't have power or economic wealth? Ever heard of a place called the United States of America? Puhleaze EC, enuff of your PC ME (moral equivalence). To generalize, religious folks here do not murder when their feelings are hurt. Instead, they run candidates for office.
To compare modern day Christianity and Judaism to modern Islam -- for the most part a cancerous, parasitic, predatory death cult -- is spectacularly obtuse. If modern day Islam is so very modern, where are the peace marchers? Where are the chapels in Saudia Arabia? Where are the Jews who once lived throughout Arabia? Where are the Islamic "Franciscans"?
Or just time.
Europe wasn't built in one day either
Posted by: European Conservative ||
04/05/2009 21:19 Comments ||
Another suggestion is that laser beams be installed in the tall minarets of the Al-Haram mosque built around the Kaaba to help mosques and worshippers establish the correct qibla direction. I go for lasers. Ones that put out about 3.5 gigawatts
[Straits Times] FORMER Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad rejoined Umno on Saturday, a year after quitting in a huff over the way his successor was running the government. He returned to the party a day after Datuk Seri Najib Razak took over from Tun Abdullah Badawi as the new Prime Minister.
On Saturday, Tun Mahathir handed his application form along with the requisite RM2 (80 Singapore cents) membership fee to Mr Najib, the party president. Dr Mahathir's wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, and their son Datuk Mokhzani followed suit.
The former premier told reporters he was happy to be back and urged those who had left along with him to return as well. 'The image of Umno has suffered somewhat in the last few years. The first thing to be done is to clean up the image of Umno,' he said. 'I am prepared to help Umno regain the people's trust.'
The first test would take place tomorrow, when he goes out to help canvass for votes for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition in two by-elections - in Perak and Kedah - on Tuesday.
'I believe his return will be an encouragement to Umno and will help us to rebuild the party,' Mr Najib said of Dr Mahathir.
The latter resigned as prime minister in 2003 after 22 years in power, hand-picking Mr Abdullah as his successor. But within a year, he turned against Mr Abdullah after the new leader overturned many of his pet projects. 'Although I was out of Umno, my heart and soul were in Umno,' Dr Mahathir said.
He added there was no need for any formal party or government positions for him and that the criticisms he had hurled at the party were intended to strengthen it, not destroy it. Asked whether he would continue to be just as vocal during Mr Najib's administration, he said : 'I was critical whenever Umno went wrong.'
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.